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Listen up Celebrity Tweeters! Apparently Nobody Cares! September 27, 2010

Posted by billyburnettgbc in conversational PR, new media, Online Reputation, pr, TweetVolume, Twitter.
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Twitter plans to launch a free analytics dashboard that will help its users – especially businesses – understand how others are interacting with their tweets. Announced by Ross Hoffman, a member of Twitter’s business development team, the tool will show you which tweets are spreading and which users are influential in your network.

Although bad news for third-party Twitter analytics tools, such as Klout, Omniture and Twitalyzer, it is likely to be welcomed by many as a step forward in the way we measure the beast that is social media – especially as it’s free!

Twitter is perhaps one of the best examples of the difficulties surrounding social media measurement, with retweets, followers and the ability for a topic to trend all playing a role in determining influence.

Only this week, Ashton Kutcher, one of the services most famous users with millions of followers, shown to have very little if any influence according to a study conducted at Northwestern University. These findings hit the wire a few months after social media analytics company Sysomos claimed that celebrities’ followers don’t have any influence, either.

It might all depend on how you crunch the numbers. Don’t forget that Justin Bieber used to consistently sit near the top of Twitter’s official trends list, and that one source close to Twitter claimed 3% of the network’s servers are dedicated to tweets from Bieber and the retweets from his followers.

Although the launch of this service is unlikely to be considered the defacto standard by every PR or marketing agency, especially as some have already invested in developing their own tools, it does provide an independent view for the client.


Too Many PRs Spoil Measurement June 21, 2010

Posted by billyburnettgbc in conversational PR, first impressions, new media, pr, search engines, SEO.
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What do you get when you put the leaders of five global professional measurement and evaluation bodies and 150 delegates from the world’s top measurement companies and PR agencies together in one room? According to @Sean376, a pile of S#@t, and I completely agree.

As you may be aware, the above “experts” all met this week at the second European Summit on Measurement in Barcelona to produce the first global standard of PR measurement. This is something that has eluded the PR industry since its inception; with various initiatives looking to deliver a universal framework to no avail, but perhaps the problem is that there is not a one-size-fits all approach.

This may be seen as slightly cynical, but in my experience no client, campaign or PR agency has ever been the same and measurement is a somewhat customised tool. For example, a common task set to us as a PR agency is to support sales, but even this could be measured in a multitude of ways:

  • Website traffic (for example, using vanity url’s to track inbound traffic generated)
  • Brand awareness (increasing share of voice and awareness amongst customers)
  • Sales increase (taking into consideration other marketing activities)
  • AVE (it has its merits when speaking to the CFO)
  • Attendance to launch event (public/press/celebrity)

I could go on but you get the idea. I think the main frustration of this initiative is not that they are attempting the impossible, as I feel some standardisation or best practices should be established, but that in 3-days a total of 7 common-sense principles were drafted.

I look forward to the rest of the industry’s reaction, but in the meantime you can check out the seven key principles on the PRWeek website here, or for perhaps if you are looking for a satirical view then check Sean’s post here.

Death of the ad? June 14, 2010

Posted by kewroad in 2010 predictions, conversational PR, pr, print media.
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I was reading an interesting article over the weekend on Social Media Today that weighs up the importance of social media versus advertising and discusses whether advertising is a dying game.

Over the pond, The Institute for Advertising Ethics was set up last week and, with it, hope that advertising will be turned around to get consumers back on side. By that I mean no more meaningless adverts, empty promises, half-commitments – there’s still a real opportunity around the globe for marketers to start engaging with their audiences through meaningful adverts that are relevant, current and thought-provoking.

I agree with the article’s author, Jonathan Salem Baskin, in so far as adverts have begun to be regarded or labeled as ‘bad’. We see it as an opportunity for brands to broadcast their messages to anyone looking in that direction with no or little engagement – something that social media definitely has the upper hand on with its real-time ability to evoke a two way conversation on a subject.

But, having been an advertising professional myself for several years, I’m encouraged to hear that there is still hope for ads if the industry is willing to stay open minded and, ultimately, reform to meet the current market’s expectations of what a brand should be doing. I genuinely believe that traditional methods of above the line marketing including advertising can definitely complement below the line activities. After all, a well thought-out integrated through the line campaign surely has to have a stronger impact than just elements of social media outreach and some full page ads at the back of a magazine?

Time will only tell on this one. But I think we’d be making a mistake to dismiss traditional methods of marketing too quickly. Social media is indeed the way forward for most brands but, if we as PRO’s stay open minded enough, we should be working with marketers to ensure that the brand’s best interests are the priority. And that we really are engaging with consumers in the most appropriate way, not just the way the industry is moving at that point in time.

Nation States Show Green PR Fingers at World’s Biggest Garden Show June 14, 2010

Posted by kewroad in green marketing, green pr, pr.
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 A recent visit to the Chelsea Flower Show reminded me of how nation states continue to reach for flower pots and spades rather than guns and soldiers to fight their brand wars.  

Nation branding is a concept popularised by Simon Anholt and examines how nation states can build positive brand values  around the quality of their people, culture, business acumen and politics. Simon would argue that nation branding isn’t simply about marketing but good, clear lines of communication with consistent messaging are important to how a nation state presents a positive image. 

 The show gardens at Chelsea are among the ultimate PR power vehicles, costing millions and burnishing the brands of banks, newspapers and retailers.  And increasingly they are joined by nation states for the same purpose.  Malaysia, Australia and Norway all deployed gardens to communicate a variety of powerful messages. And it’s not all about tourism. Take the Norwegian garden for example which showcased new building materials, solar cells and ethanol home heating technology alongside the planting. 

 The ROI of  this approach? The costs are probably astronomical but a successful garden that embodies your key messages – luxury, calm, green, cool, welcoming, open, beautiful – gets round the clock television coverage in HD for seven days on the prime BBC channels and websites as well as performing as the perfect spot for a bit of networking in the sun (or rain).

Rainy Barcelona, but good spirits in MWC itself February 22, 2010

Posted by kewroad in 2010 predictions, blogs, Broadband, Google, information technology, internet, ISP, IT, Microsoft, mobile, pr, social networks, Uncategorized, Windows 7, YouTube.
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So I’ve survived my 7th Mobile World Congress (my first rainy one, oh where was the lovely Barcelona sunshine when I needed it?) and it’s great to hear from many of the exhibitors that they had a much better Congress than last year and many talked of an emergence from the recession.

However, whilst there is some nostalgia over the heady days of the late 80s early 90s when glitz, glamour and entertainment on big ships and yachts were the order of the day, it’s good to know that those days will never come back (And by the way, how refreshing to see only a few stands resorting to scantily clad young girls for overweight middle aged business men old enough to be their fathers to drool over!)  Poor girls.

What’s perhaps good about coming out of a boom and almost bust time is that everyone is humbler, less arrogant, more keen to be ‘open’ and work together than before.  Ultimately, this has to be good for the customer.  More than any other show perhaps, there were more partnerships announced, more talk of openness and the ability to work together.

Two of the biggest pieces of news were around Microsoft and Google.  Undoubtedly there was a lot of buzz around Steve Ballmer’s press conference on Windows 7 to be released in time for the Christmas period.  His appearance emphasises the importance in this market.  Google unveiling its new mantra ‘Mobile First’ also captured the imagination of The Daily who gave it front page news.  Companies such as Google are fundamentally changing the mobile business and the established operators and equipment vendors need to understand how to work and more importantly compete with these new players.

Many at the show talked about the fact that with the explosion of mobile broadband, cloud computing and smart-phones, the technology is now fast becoming a reality for consumers to engage with brands, multimedia, social networking sites and applications.  Users can now check Facebook, watch YouTube, surf the web, download slide presentations and apps wherever they are, just by pressing a couple of buttons on their handset key pad or touchscreen.  

It’s undoubtedly an exciting time in which we live and reminds me of the PC explosion of the early 80s and the internet boom of the early 90s.


Mobile internet likely to outstrip the desktop February 8, 2010

Posted by kewroad in 2010 predictions, conversational PR, information technology, internet, mobile, pr, Uncategorized.
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There is almost too much to blog about this week. Business Week  covered why are there not enough women at the top of IT companies, hmmm now let’s see – might it be because most need/want to juggle work and family and large IT brands just simply don’t have cultures that enable that to happen at board level?  Then, of course, there was  Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun’s resignation over Twitter. Given he was one of the first CEO’s to truly ‘get’ that blogging and other social media tools were a way of communicating directly with customers and sharing views about new products,  a resignation over Twitter seemed very appropriate.

However, perhaps what’s most exciting just simply because it’s about future trends is a Morgan Stanley report shared by Brian Solis which suggests that the mobile internet market will eclipse destop internet…sounds crazy but then it’s backed up by lots of strong statistics.  Apple provides marketeers with the ability to mine an entirely new channel to reach prospects and customers. Morgan Stanley also predicts that smartphones will out ship the global notebooks and netbook market as well as out shipping the global PC market.  Morgan Stanley sees three platforms demonstrating strong momentum – facebook, mobile and the web. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires over the coming years.


Twitter hits PR agencies – guess what it’s called: twitpitch November 25, 2009

Posted by kewroad in 2009 predictions, blogs, conversational PR, internet, Journalism, pr, Twitter.
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Twitter makes the world go round and probably provides more opportunities than people can think of right now. Not only journalists, bloggers and analysts find a new communication channel in the 140 characters space that Twitter offers. Companies start to talk to their clients, partners, best friends and potential new clients about new products, the market or other hot issues. PR agencies like us try to introduce the advantages of  Twitter to our clients and we try hard even in “far-behind-Germany”.

Now as part of the PR community we can make Twitter a new business channel for us as well. We start twittering in our community and talk about PR news, discuss issues and get quick feedback from other agencies of our thematic focus. And this network could lead to new contacts for our business. Watch us twitpitching!


GBC Germany

Microsoft Windows 7 Launches with a Successful Whimper October 23, 2009

Posted by kewroad in Journalism, Microsoft, pr, Windows 7.
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Impressed this week with how “little” Microsoft has done to launch Windows 7.  Seems to have learnt the mistakes of the Vista and past hullaballoo and gone down the path of “less is more” and well-judged restraint. (though the Japanese haven’t been able to restrain themselves e.g. the Windows 7 Burger King burger).

 And, with expectations nicely calmed if not lowered to zero, the media’s response has been pleasantly positive. Few commentators have found much to complain about except the price and the fact that XP users – who hated Vista and were most enthusiastic about what Windows 7 would offer – have to pay the most to upgrade. 

Notwithstanding it’s been so low-key (actually overshadowed in the UK by much bigger stories e.g. Nokia suing Apple, nasty but thick right-wing politician on premier UK political chat show) the PR approach does follow the old maxim of the most powerful stories are Man bites Dog, not Dog bites Man in that Microsoft launches a (so far) Good OS rather than launching a Bad OS.

The internet now drives opinion not the print media October 18, 2009

Posted by kewroad in 2009 predictions, information technology, internet, Journalism, new media, pr, print media, social networks, Twitter, Uncategorized.
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The furore since Thursday evening over the Daily Mail’s Jan Moir’s take on the death of Stephen Gateley serves to demonstrate that communications and opinion is no longer in the hands of journalists alone.  Twitter not only ‘breaks news’ – it also provides the facilitate to quickly garner masses of public opinion around news.   In the old days, a journalist would express a view and all that might happen is a letter from Mr Angry from Bournementh in the letters page the following week.   Many of might have wanted to comment but didn’t have the inclination to write a letter.  Not only does the popularity of Facebook and Twitter  now enable people to comment instantly but these social media tools also enable us to come together collectively, quickly and forcefully to drive comment and lead opinion.

Is this new wave of influential public opinion revolutionary? Well almost.  When before could a swell of opinion be expressed so quickly and powerfully? Long-term, this must have a positive effect on the old powers of the handful of media moguls who have long domintated the printing presses. Surely, long-term, it will be public opinion that drives the news agenda.  This new power of the people can’t be underestimated. Such was the rumpus caused by the Daily Mail article that the  newspaper lost significant advertising revenue. The mail had to remove adverts from big brands like Marks and Spencer, Nestle, Visit England, Kodak and the National Express. 

As the Observer recently reported, the print media is changing beyond all recognition and will never be the same again. We are currently living in a period of incredible change in communications and social media. No one really knows what the outcome will be, all that is for sure is that it won’t be the same as before. 

Sue Grant

Social Media Volunteer Army creates PR Headache? September 7, 2009

Posted by kewroad in pr, social networks.
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Interesting article spotted via a recent tweet by Sally Falkow highlights how the move to use social media to source technical answers has consequences that aren’t exactly good for your corporate profile. 

 Tom Foremski’s article suggests that one tech brand’s  emthusiasm for using customers to answer technical support for other customers via social networks may be connected to the company cutting 4% of its workforce. Although the brand makes no such link, separately it has said that this volunteer army answers support calls better than its own staff and number of calls have dropped.

So engaging with customers via social media is creating a closer relationship on customer support. But if we found out that our “unpaid” work is leading to someone losing their job,  would our view of that brand change?  Or don’t we care given that  this approach seems to deliver better answers and the popular profile of customer support often isn’t the most sparkling?  Would we join a Facebook page to save tech support jobs at our favourite software company?